We’ve seen Donkey and Diddy Kong appear on various games for the Wii and DS over the past couple of years but Donkey Kong Country Returns goes back to the days of the SNES classic and brings the platformer right up to date. The game begins with some strange masks with hypnotic powers emerging from a volcano and hypnotising all the animals so they can steal DK’s stockpile of bananas. For some reason Mr Kong is immune so goes on the rampage with his little buddy to get them all back.
The game’s a side-scrolling platformer with some 3D depth as you fire yourself around in barrels and can be played solo or with a friend. Play on your own and Diddy Kong can hop on your back at the touch of a button and with a friend you can both do your own thing or get together to find some extra height when trying to collect those bananas, coins and those KONG tokens scattered around each level.
There’s nothing particularly new or inventive here but it’s a solid platformer which can be punishing at times but that’s what they’re all about after all. Unfortunately there is some forced shaking of the Wii Remote and Nunchuck in places when you have to ‘ground pound’ and occasionally for jumping. When the game sometimes calls for you to be very precise in your movements this can lead to some sudden deaths which can be frustrating but this by no means breaks the game. Play with just the remote on its side and you can press a button to ground pound instead.
This game actually gets harder and better the more you play through the 8 worlds. There are bosses to fight, mine karts to race in and loads of other cool spins on the 2D side-scrolling platformer genre that genuinely give Mario a run for his money.
And if you fancy an extra challenge you can of course go back and try to collect everything in every level and even do the time trials which believe me, will take you an age to accomplish. If you like hardcore platform games this is the one to get – luckily they’ve included an auto-play option if you do get stuck and just want to get to the next level. Donkey Kong Country Returns gets a fruity 9 out of 10.
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